Pharmacist vacancy and turnover rates markedly down

May 20, 2014

Although there are still unfilled pharmacist jobs in hospitals and health systems, the vacancy rate for pharmacists in such settings is as low as it’s been in more than a decade, according to a staffing survey by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Although there are still unfilled pharmacist jobs in hospitals and health systems, the vacancy rate for pharmacists in such settings is as low as it’s been in more than a decade, according to a staffing survey by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

ASHP’s 2013 Pharmacy Staffing Survey revealed a 2.1% vacancy rate for pharmacists in hospitals and health systems. When ASHP began measuring pharmacist vacancy rates in 1999, the rate was 7.7%.

“The survey indicates that even though the number of pharmacist positions continues to increase in hospitals and health systems, the supply of pharmacists is able to keep up with the demand,” said Douglas J. Scheckelhoff, MS, ASHP vice president of practice advancement. “ASHP will continue to monitor these trends and work hard to help ensure pharmacists are trained and prepared for the types of roles needed in these and other evolving positions and practice models.”

The survey revealed an increase in the numbers of pharmacists employed in hospital and health systems. However, those increases were not spread evenly. The numbers of management, clinical, and informatics pharmacists increased, but dispensing positions have decreased.

In 2013, there were 17.8 full-time pharmacists per 100 occupied beds. And, on average, it took hospitals and health systems 3.2 months to fill pharmacist vacancies.

 

The survey also revealed that the turnover rate for pharmacists decreased to 5.6% in 2013 from 7.1% in 2012. This was the lowest turnover rate in a decade.

According to the survey, the vacancy rate for pharmacy technicians increased to 4.2% in 2013 from 3.4% the previous year. The 2013 turnover rate for pharmacy technicians was 13.4%.

“Overall, there were no surprising changes in pharmacy staffing trends from last year to this year,” the report concluded. “Pharmacy directors perceive persistent shortages of pharmacy managers and experienced pharmacy technicians.”